About Matthew Van Atta

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Matthew Van Atta

Teaching beginning wheel classes is surprisingly difficult. Seeing what my student have achieved makes me happy.

I learned about clay in elementary school. I made many pieces in high school and then forgot about clay while I pursued a degree in mechanical engineering. In graduate school, I took Beginning Ceramics as a fun elective and pretty soon the dirt got under my fingernails. After seeing demonstrations by Crista Assad and David MacDonald, I knew my life was following the pottery path. I attended NCECA in 2012 and a wood firing conference in New Zealand before selling away everything I could to adventure in New Zealand. I discovered the Wellington Potter's Association and learned everything I had been taught. I learned about making glazes, raku firings, more about the beauty of Anagama kilns, and all about working with clay. Most importantly, I had the opportunity to teach weekly classes for adults and found my passion for teaching.

I grew up on Kodiak Island, completed my BS in mechanical engineering at UAF, and have chosen the valley to start this adventure.

My work has taken on several directions with reoccurring themes. Geometric patterns, the number five, figures that reflect on my mother's artistic work, and aspects of duality can all be seen. I especially enjoy the technical challenges clay brings and the natural chemistry on raw materials for glazes.